10 Places You Can Get Published In As A Commentator
December 10, 2020
Whether you plan on becoming a journalist, working at a think tank, or a consultant, getting published will certainly help you. It allows you to gradually build your position as an industry expert or leader, thereby increasing your comparative advantage in an increasingly competitive job market.
As Georgetown students, we have the privilege of getting a world-class education from some of the world’s best academics. Being a Hoya also gives us a strong brand value: others would be more open to listening to us. Therefore, it would be wasteful if we don’t take advantage of the resources and knowledge we gained at Georgetown to produce new insights and share them with the outside world.
Yes, writing on your personal blog or putting out YouTube videos on your custom channel may be counted as publishing. But if you want to make a greater impact, it would be more ideal to write for publications that have more traffic than a personal blog or channel. That means you should aim to get published on platforms where people regularly visit to find answers for their research or to gain knowledge about current affairs.
To start, write for The Georgetown Gazette, which is relatively popular with our fellow Hoyas and Education City students. By contributing here, you can gain local visibility. But most importantly, the experience you gain will improve your writing and help your future pitches get accepted to more prominent publications. In fact, it was my experience writing here that propelled me towards an opportunity at Lone Conservative, a publication I regularly cover foreign policy for, from where I then went on to become a freelance breaking-news contributor at the Daily Caller, with an opinion piece at the Times of Israel. So, I encourage you to start with The Georgetown Gazette before venturing into the places I share below.
Now assuming you have a starter experience writing for The Georgetown Gazette, here are ten publications that accept unsolicited manuscripts. Before sending your pitch, I recommend taking a look at this insightful article by Duke University. Mentions aren’t necessarily an endorsement of any of the publications by the author or The Georgetown Gazette.
Named after Milton’s speech defending free-speech, Areopagitica, Areo publishes essays aligned with “broad liberal and humanist values” from various perspectives: “liberals, conservatives, socialists, libertarians, atheists and religious believers.” The magazine publishes analyses and opinion pieces on the topic of “humanism, reason, science, politics, culture and human rights.” Areo explicitly states that it would consider articles from high schoolers and undergraduates, as long as they conform to their published guidelines. Furthermore, this publication offers £40 per published work, and £80 for a feature piece. The ideal word count for an article published on this site is between 1,200 and 3,000 words. Submission details can be found here.
Comprising “commentary, essays, book reviews, interviews, and educational material,” this publication seeks to promote the classical liberal tradition of law and political philosophy. While Law & Liberty commissions some of their essay writers, they also accept occasional unsolicited manuscripts of 1,000 to 1,200 words. If you’re interested, the details are here. Ideologically, this publication has a classical liberal, right-libertarian tilt.
This publication is arguably the most relevant one to our SFS degree in foreign service. Run by a group of editors that includes professors and policy analysts worldwide, The Geopolitics seeks to become a source “of journalism, analysis, and commentary” on world politics, taking submissions from policymakers, academics, and local writers. This online publication accepts three kinds of articles: commentaries (pieces), analyses (750-1,500-word overviews of world issues from a scholarly perspective), and 500-1000 word rebuttals to previously published articles on the site. Submission details are available here.
Considered the “world’s leading open-access website for students and scholars of international politics,” E-International Relations is recommended by leading scholars in academia. It publishes scholarly works, open-access books, and student essays from both undergraduates and graduate students. Rather than being a foreign policy publication targeting the general public, this publication is more academia-focused. Submission details for student essays can be found here.
National Interest publishes analyses and commentary on global politics from a realist perspective. The editors recommend contributors “familiarize” themselves with the site before submission. Articles for the Print magazine range from 2000 to 5000 words while Online features range from 600 to 2,000 words. Blog posts are also accepted, with a typical length ranging from 350 to 1,000 words. National Interest is arguably more prominent and renowned than the other four aforementioned publications. I recommend you to build experience through other publications before submitting an article here. Submission details for National Interest are available here.
6) The Nation
The Nation is a weekly publication covering US domestic and international issues, publishing three kinds of work: comments, typically 750-worded brief current-affairs analyses; articles, usually 1500-2500 worded pieces combining analysis and reporting to provide in-depth insights of developments; and, generally 2000-6000 worded investigative reports. The Nation leans left, ideologically. For works on domestic American affairs, the journal is “particularly interested in civil liberties, civil rights, labor, economics, environmental, privacy and policing and feminist issues and politics” of significance to the entire country. As for foreign affairs, they are “interested in pieces on international political, economic and social developments.” Submission details are found here.
OpenDemocracy, like Areo, publishes opinion essays, regardless of political-leanings, written by different people such as but not limited to “career academics,” “PhD students,” “writers of repute,” “aspiring journalists,” “International NGO representatives,” and “unheard voices.” Some of this publication’s themes comprise: “Conflict & Security; Crime, Justice, & Law; Cultural Politics; Economics; Environment; Gender & Sexuality; Health & Care; Media & Communications; Migration; Politics & Activism; Racism & Xenophobia; and, Religion & Spirituality.” Having worldwide readership, the publishers advise that contributors write on broad-relevance issues, and when making references to local matters, provide brief, comprehensive explanations. If they intend to publish your work, they will respond in three weeks post-submission. 800-1200 words is the desired submission length. Submission information can be found here.
8) Jacobin Magazine
Jacobin Magazine is an American socialist magazine publishing works with a Marxist perspective, seeking to appeal to the broader public. Providing “socialist perspectives on politics, economics, and culture,” the publication’s print magazine has reached up to 60,000 subscribers, while the website has a monthly audience of more than 2,000,000 people. Jacobin has even been endorsed by Noam Chomsky as “a bright light in dark times.” They accept unsolicited pieces of about 2,000 words or less sent to their “submissions inbox.” Contributors must include “a short abstract introducing the piece” in their submission email. For more details refer here.
9) Mother Jones
This left-progressive-leaning publication covers “national politics, environmental issues, corporate wrongdoing, human rights, and political influence in all spheres.” While most of their content comes from their employees and freelance writers they have working relationships with, an outsider can submit groundbreaking content either for the magazine or their online publication. Generally online pieces are less than 1,500 words. Magazine pieces “range up to 5,000 words.” Mother Jones advises potential contributors to look at the website before pitching a piece. Submission details are here.
10) Lone Conservative
Recognized by Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) as ISI’s Publication of the Year in 2018, Lone Conservative is a conservative student publication providing a voice for students across America and the world. Columnists and contributors submit political opinion pieces and report on campus biases. Besides being a publication, Lone Conservative is a community providing numerous opportunities for students to develop a career in media, specifically conservative/libertarian media. Your first submission will be through email. Once your primary submission has been selected for publication, you will receive access to Lone Conservative’s Slack Community through which you can interact with fellow contributors, attend weekly media-career sessions, weekly stocks chats, a book club, bible study, and more. Your subsequent publications will be published through an internal process. For information on joining and writing for Lone Conservative check here.
You might get rejected by these publications, but it is important to not get discouraged. See this as a learning opportunity to improve your writing before pitching again — practice makes perfect. Many famous writers faced rejections first before their debut piece got published, namely J.K. Rowling, Isaac Asimov, William Golding, and more. Once your work gets published, enjoy the milestone but don’t stop writing. Keep on widening your portfolio by shooting for bigger publications. The more bylines you gain, the more opportunities will open up themselves to you. This way, you can gradually establish yourself as a policy expert and analyst. Happy writing, and good luck! If you have any specific questions on how I got into the publications I write for, feel free to shoot me an email at [email protected]. I’m more than willing to provide any needed advice.